So as I have mentioned, we lived in NJ and have a number of friends from Brunswick to Boston. I watched the national Blizzard news tonight, and saw images like this:
While I’m not a prepper of the apocalypse, I have started building some basic building blocks, and you should too (I will do more on this series in the future, haven’t gotten to Part 2 yet). My bachelor brother has a Get-out-home (a glorified doublewide away from civilization, with a cache of guns and ammo, but that’s a story for another day), and I s’pose we could shack up there if shit really hit the fan (WTSHTF as the preppers say).
Anyways, my question for you, my smart readers who save for retirement, are healthy, take care of their kids and are generally awesome…are you ready for an emergency? Could you :GASP: survive if you were out of power for a few days like our friends in the Northeast are? Picture this scenario:
- No water. The water distribution system uses pumps. The pumps are electrical, pumping from your municipal well up to the water tower. The water tower uses head pressure to pressurize the water lines so you have water to take a shower and flush the toilets. When power goes out, backup generators power the pumps. But the generators need to be fed gasoline and maintained, if not, your water system doesn’t work. In a multi-day power outage (or zombie apocalypse), water may not last more than a few days to a week.
- No access to food stores. See that grocery aisle above? How long can you survive without power or grocery shopping?
- Wastewater. If you can’t flush the toilets, how are you handling man’s most basic need (even moreso than sex), of taking a shit or piss?
- Light. No electricity = no light at night. Not a need, but going to bed at 5:30 pm (when it gets dark) in the winter isn’t really a great option.
- No power. As noted above, how will you cook food (like your spaghetti or ramen) if you don’t have heat?
- Warmth. N’uff said.
Now like the water system, cell towers are also set up with a generator for backup. But they only have enough for a couple of days (and think about how many towers there are). Without people feeding them, phone service goes out quickly. I know this because I know things (I am an broad-based engineer, and my wife has worked in telecom for years).
So here’s a few things, at a minimum, ALL people should have to last for the tornado, or hurricane, or blizzard, or flood that leaves everyone struggling for a bit (again, my Prepping for Prepping post is a good start for the most basic parts – water and wastewater, more to come at some point).
- Get a 5-gallon jug of water. You can buy camp jug like this
for $15. Or you can do like I did and find a free 5-gallon jug from one of those water delivery services. Or use some glass jars or jugs of milk. Whatever you do, get some extra stored water in your home. They say 1 gallon per person per day, plus some more for pets. We have only about 15 gallons now, but will be buying a something like this at some point:
- If you don’t have a five gallon pail you should. They are great. Put rocks or dirt in them. Pickles. Paint. Or my favorite, wine (more below). An empty food grade bucket will even serve as your water bucket. But it also serves as a commode with a simple double-bagged garbage bags and a Bucket Portable Toilet Seat Cover. What are you going to do when you can’t poop in your toilet because the water is out and you can’t flush? I’d rather go in a bucket in the garage than out in a trench on the street (or overflow my indoor plumbing), but that’s just me. Do what you want to do.
- Food – Have a stash that isn’t being used by day-to-day lunches or food. The problem is, you have to either rotate it through your regular stock, or get long-lasting stuff. We have a mix of both. Plus, you need to be able to cook it. Let me layout our food stuffs:
- First, we have an outdoor grill, always have an extra propane tank, and have a freezer full of meat. Power goes out the chest freezer will last a little while (depending on the season) so that will be a primary source. Depending on the season, your fish sticks and frozen pizzas will need to be the first to get eaten, even if on the outdoor grill because the power is out.
- Standard pantry fare of kids lunch stuffs (granola bars, fruit cups, etc.)
- Canned goods
- Fridge items (eggs, cheese, veggies -some of which may last longer without spoiling with quick cooking if power goes out)
- Then our “emergency fare.” Yes, we’ve started an emergency stock, right now with a limited supply. About 50 pounds of rice and beans filled in long-term storage of Mylar Bags , and about 50# worth of food of Mountain House freeze dried stuff (that lasts forever) or smaller 10# units. Not a lot but a start. Pack buckets work to start.
- Alcohol – if you have an outage, sometimes you need the drink. Having a 1.75 of Bulleit Bourbon or some other large bottle of distilled spirits in an emergency may make it survivable. Better yet, learn to Homebrew. It’s easy, costs $2/bottle or less and is a fun way to break up the winter/spring/summer/fall. No matter what the season and how much we and our friends drink, we have 50-100 bottles of homebrewed fruit wine in our basement wine rack. Plus, enough yeast and ingredients that I could make another couple hundred bottles WTSHTF. Need to have some skill in the apocalypse.
- Candles, Lanterns, Cooking Stove – Light and cooking ability after the power goes out. Need those. Batteries are important for flashlights or lanterns (way better than candles). And a camp stove with propane canisters goes a long way to make those freeze dried foods and 30# of noodles or rice you have in your pantry. Candles – don’t forget those things no man even thinks about until you don’t have power. If you’re married, you probably have 30 around the house and another 30 hidden for backup. Plus, matches or a lighter – importante!
- Board games – if you have kids, you need something to pass the time without the POD or video games. Make sure you have a game of LIFE to destroy them, or something like Trouble to destroy their spirits more than the blizzard/tornado/flood.
- Toilet Paper – having an extra big bundle of TP is something I subscribe to as well. This article on the 2015 Blizzard! said there was a run on TP in addition to the other staples like bread. Like seriously – who can’t make it through a couple of days? Do people really get down to their last roll before stocking up? Is that why there was a run?
Don’t let a natural disaster wreck your family. With a few additions over a brief period of time (and even without the gun stash), you can have a nice situation to whether the storm and have a little adventure with your family without having to shit in the snow. And don’t forget that hidden bottle of booze. You’ll need it.